Everyday uses of magnets

Updated July 13, 2018

People use magnets to keep notes on refrigerator doors. They're an essential part of technology items such as speakers, motors and computer hard disks. And credit cards carry account information on a magnetic strip.

Door Latch

Magnets are a simple, reliable way to latch doors on refrigerators and cabinets.


From tiny ear buds to stadium PA systems, every speaker has a magnet in it. The stronger the magnet, the better the sound quality.

Toys and Games

Many familiar toys such as the Woolly Willy drawing game use magnets. Some construction toys use magnets to securely attach parts.


DC motors have a set of permanent magnets and electromagnets inside. When connected to a battery, the electromagnets repel the permanent magnets and make the motor spin.

Refrigerator Magnets

Refrigerator magnets are used for everything from notes to jokes to the paediatrician's phone number.

Credit Cards

Credit cards have a strip of magnetic material on their back side. Account data are recorded on it in a special, machine-readable format.

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About the Author

Chicago native John Papiewski has a physics degree and has been writing since 1991. He has contributed to "Foresight Update," a nanotechnology newsletter from the Foresight Institute. He also contributed to the book, "Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance."